I am currently reading Gene Stratton-Porter's "A Girl of the Limberlost." It's the first time I've ever read anything by her.

I have not read anything by Eleanor H. Porter, but have seen a "flickification" of her "Pollyanna."

Their writing styles, or motifs, anyway, seem similar; were they related? A quick internet search turned up nothing; wondering if anybody knows "off the top of their head" whether they only share part of a surname and a general style of writing.

1 Answer 1


Doesn't look like it.

For each of these (female) authors, the "Porter" in her name was her married name, taken from her husband. So if their shared surname is not a coincidence, it must come from a blood relation between their husbands, not the women themselves.

  • Eleanor H. Porter (née Eleanor Emily Hodgman, daughter of Francis Fletcher Hodgman and Llewella French née Woolson) was married to John Lyman Porter. That John Lyman Porter is most probably this one (from Vermont, close to Eleanor's native New Hampshire and the couple's later home Massachusetts), son of John Lyman Porter Sr., son of Enos Porter.

  • Gene Stratton-Porter (née Geneva Grace Stratton, daughter of Mark Stratton and Mary née Shallenberger) was married to Charles Dorwin Porter. This Charles Dorwin Porter, an Indiana drugstore owner, was well enough known that several generations of his family tree have been traced out online. So we know that he was the son of John Pomeroy Porter from Ohio, son of Alexander Porter from Indiana, son of Patrick Porter, an immigrant from Ireland. Nowhere in this genealogical history is an Enos or John Lyman mentioned.

So it seems that the shared part of the writers' names (a common enough surname, Porter) is a coincidence. There's also no sign of any blood relation between the women, their parents' birth surnames being entirely different. Perhaps the similarity you observed in their writing styles was just something common to writers in the north-east US in that time period?

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